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succumbing to peer pressure
Republican Party officials in Ohio took formal steps yesterday to place thousands of recruits inside polling places on Election Day to challenge the qualifications of voters they suspect are not eligible to cast ballots.
Ohio election officials said they had never seen so large a drive to prepare for Election Day challenges. They said they were scrambling yesterday to be ready for disruptions in the voting process as well as alarm and complaints among voters. Some officials said they worried that the challenges could discourage or even frighten others waiting to vote.
C.J.: "Everyone's stupid in an election year, Charlie."
Wee! Two posts in as many days. I must have some time on my hands. Or something I'm avoiding. I'll let you decide.
Gen. Tommy R. Franks climbed out of a C-130 plane at the Baghdad airport on April 16, 2003, and pumped his fist into the air. American troops had pushed into the capital of liberated Iraq little more than a week before, and it was the war commander's first visit to the city.
Much of the Sunni Triangle was only sparsely patrolled, and Baghdad was still reeling from a spasm of looting. Apache attack helicopters prowled the skies as General Franks headed to the Abu Ghraib North Palace, a retreat for Saddam Hussein that now served as the military's headquarters.
Huddling in a drawing room with his top commanders, General Franks told them it was time to make plans to leave. Combat forces should be prepared to start pulling out within 60 days if all went as expected, he said. By September, the more than 140,000 troops in Iraq could be down to little more than a division, about 30,000 troops.
That was 17 months ago.
But many military officers and civilian officials who served in Iraq in the spring and summer of 2003 say the administration's miscalculations cost the United States valuable momentum - and enabled an insurgency that was in its early phases to intensify and spread.
"I think that there were Baathist Sunnis who planned to resist no matter what happened and at all cost, but we missed opportunities, and that drove more of them into the resistance," Jay Garner, the first civilian administrator of Iraq and a retired Army lieutenant general, said in an interview, referring to the Baath Party of Mr. Hussein and to his Sunni Muslim supporters. "Things were stirred up far more than they should have been. We did not seal the borders because we did not have enough troops to do that, and that brought in terrorists."
In a recent article in The Wisconsin Medical Journal, published by the state medical society, Col. Roger A. Lalich, a senior physician in the Army National Guard, said: "It appears that a general draft is not likely to occur. A physician draft is the most likely conscription into the military in the near future."
Those who are worrying about a revived draft are in the same position as those who worried about a return to budget deficits four years ago, when
President Bush began pushing through his program of tax cuts. Back then he insisted that he wouldn't drive the budget into deficit - but those who looked at the facts strongly suspected otherwise. Now he insists that he won't revive the draft. But the facts suggest that he will.
The "It's about damn time I sat down and wrote in this thing" Edition
"Various right-wing barkers are trying to make it out as though Halperin has been caught in some impolitic or embarrassing remark. But quite the contrary is the case.
"This is simply a news organization trying to grapple with the same reality that every respectable news outlet is now dealing with -- how to report on the fusillade of lies the Bush campaign has decided to use against John Kerry in the final weeks of the campaign.
"The plain intent of the memo is to tell ABC reporters that they should feel neither obligated nor permitted to equate the level of deceptiveness of the Kerry and Bush campaign's if and when they are in fact not equal.
"Everyone can see that they are not equal. Halperin is just saying it. And in doing so he has run smack into the epistemological relativism that now defines the Republican party.
"The most noteworthy thing I've seen in the right-wing response is that there seems to be little effort to deny or engage the question of whether the Bush campaign is being qualitatively more dishonest than the Kerry campaign. All the whining is focused on the fact that any news organization would have the temerity to try to distinguish between them."
In older, and far, far more terrifying news, we continue to do a real bang-up job over there in Iraq:
Equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons have disappeared from Iraq, the chief of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog agency has warned.So basically, we kicked the UN inspectors out, went on some mission to find WMDs that it has now become clear did not exist, and in the meantime lost track of the other equipment and materials that we did know existed and were monitoring!? Wow, I'm so glad we had such a good, organized plan for this thing. Please oh please oh please can we have a new leader who doesn't act like a four year old? Pretty please?
The U.S. government prevented U.N. weapons inspectors from returning to Iraq -- thereby blocking the IAEA from monitoring the high-tech equipment and materials -- after the U.S.-led war was launched in March 2003.
Anti-proliferation agreements say that the United States, which administered Iraq until June 2004, and the Iraqi interim government, which took over from the United States in June, must inform the IAEA of any import or export of such materials and equipment.
But since March 2003 "the agency has received no such notifications or declarations from any state," [IAEA head Mohamed] ElBaradei said.
The nuclear agency has since then had to rely on satellite imagery to work out what is happening with Iraq's nuclear sites.